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October 6, 2013

Arlington’s subsidized housing: disjointed, and poorly targeted

Affordable Housing — @ 1:10 pm

Arlington’s housing assistance program relies primarily on 6,500 apartments that are provided by a series of private companies and nonprofits to county residents, supposedly at rent levels below private market rate rental properties.

In response to a Freedom of Information Request to Arlington County, we received data on the operations of Arlington affordable housing units (committed affordable units or CAFs). As of spring 2013, the county reported it had about 6,500 CAFs units, some of which are still under construction and thus unoccuppied.

<Number of separate properties and providers
These 6,500 units are located in 85 separate properties by 29 separate for-profit developers, landowners, and nonprofit housing groups. There are 103 units designed for the disabled, but only 37 of these units actually house disabled individuals.

The largest housing provider is AHC, Inc. with 34 percent of the CAFs, followed by APAH with 16 percent. The next largest are Paradigm Inc. with 6 percent (all at Buckingham Gardens area), and ARHC, Inc. (5 %) that operates the senior housing complex Culpepper Gardens. In total there are 29 separate firms or organization providing subsidized housing unde contract with the county.

The county has to date unable to provide the number of employees these firms or organizations employ to operate these units, and unable to document the administrative costs of opeating these units.
Income of residents of the CAF units
The county provided limited data on the income of the residents of 409 CAF units. For these 409 units (out of 6,500 total), 12 percent of residents have incomes above 60-percent of the area median income (AMI), 46 percent of these units have residents with an income of 60 percent AMI; 27 percent have income at the 50-percent AMI; and 6 percent have incomes of 45 percent AMI or less. There were also 10 percent of the units with residents with “Federal support” and thus their incomes could not be determined. These data confirm that these CAF units are rented mainly (58 percent) by people making 60 percent of the AMI or above.